It’s the end of August and we’re finally able to come up for air after this year’s volunteer team season. It is always a good feeling to be on this side of the season knowing that life is going to be slowing down, suitcases have time to air out and a resemblance of a routine starts to form.
This season we hosted 14 volunteer groups from across the United States and Scotland. Hundreds of volunteers arrived at the Lima airport and spent the next week or two working at our Girasoles homes. We had some great interns who helped us by traveling and translating for the groups.
And as always, the house parents at each of the Girasoles homes were welcoming and organized some fun activities. The final night groups were at the home in Ica, the house parents Sabino and Esther coordinated a cena de gala celebratory dinner for the group and Girasoles. It was a candlelight dinner on the patio where new friendships were celebrated.
And the usual evening activities in Kusi ensued.
We spent a lot of time at the Lima airport – either to meet a group or traveling to Iquitos or Cusco.
And ate many pollo a la brasa meals (yum!).
We helped with translations and testing water samples.
And we got to spend a lot of time with the children in our Girasoles homes.
Each volunteer season there are always special moments that remind us why we are here or make it evident that God is working in these children’s lives. For me, it was one afternoon while in Ica.
Each time we take a group of volunteers to the city of Ica to work in our Girasoles home, we rent a water truck to go out into a nearby shantytown to deliver free water to a community that doesn’t have electricity, running water or sewage system. The houses are built out of 6×6 feet straw mats and the streets are just dust and sand. Very easily the people that live in this part of town could spend up to 50% of their income on water alone.
When I go with groups to deliver water, I like to take some of the boys that live in our home with us. They are extra hands to help carry heavy buckets of water and they can help spread the word that free water is coming.
This particular day, Sabino and Esther, the house parents in Ica had 10 boys accompany us to Tierra Prometida, the community where we would be passing out water. For two of the ten boys, it was their first time going out to deliver water. After quick instructions and an explanation of why we were there, the boys joined the group gathering empty buckets and returning them with free, clean water.
I can’t even begin to express how proud I was to see these boys generously serving their community. They carried countless heavy buckets without being asked and worked together like I have never seen before, all without a single complaint about how hot it was under the desert sun or expecting something in return. As high school kids who live in a children’s home, they are always the beneficiaries. More often than not, they only have their time and strength to give. It was amazing to see the young men that Billy and I normally serve going out and serving their community with what they had to offer.
We all have something to offer whether it be your time, talents or treasures and we think it is important that the kids we work with realize that they have something to contribute as well and can become servants of a world in need. Our message to each child in our care is that they do not have to be defined by their past or current situation. Instead we share that God created them in His image with a specific purpose.
For that reason, they have infinite value, are worthy of being loved and are worthy of sharing that love with others.
– Kate & Billy
PS. Would you consider helping us continue working here in Peru? You can find out more about us and give online through United World Mission by clicking here.